Opinion: How Thailand’s youth transformed their political awakening into a festival of hope

The protest on June 25 in front of Democracy Monument was a landmark moment in our recent history. Unlike the other protests of the past 20 years, this one was filled with colorful outfits, colorful hair, distinct personal style and marked by a few choice words.

The demonstrators and protest were young and used the language of the young to communicate their grievances whether it was mocking a Prayut doll or parodying a university greeting song to satirize the current regime.

This creativity is a hallmark of all the subsequent protests since the June 25 rally.

The spirited, fun atmosphere, the poetry, the hope, these are the indicators of our 21st century rallies, held and led by 21st century people.

While our mission is somber and we understand the level of difficulty is high, after all we are trying to dislodge a ruling class and a military apparatus that sees military interference as its birthright, we will not approach this task with fatalism and depression.

The colorful style which we will protest is a manifestation of our collective joy not our trepidation of the future or sorrow for the fasts. Our protests are a festival of hope and a festival of our yearning for something better.

But do not mistake our levity and our gaiety for a lack of substance. Our mission is the necessary evolution or our society whether it is political or social (LGBT, Sex workers, all other banners). Our speakers are our peers, our teachers and our seniors, all with the knowledge and lived-experience to express our frustrations of today and our hopes of the future.

For myself, this political awakening is heartening and its movement from the campuses to the street is a sign that the youth of Thailand will no longer accept the status quo.

We will make mistakes as we grow and we will keep learning but our mission is the same, to topple the coup government and erase their influence on our country.

We may not be able to do this alone, so please come join your sons and daughters and nieces and nephews in this festival of hope.

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